‘The Hunger Games’ Serves Up Paltry Thrills

By Alissa Vecchio

Elm Staff Writer

You know you’ve seen it: the gold mockingjay pin that brandishes the cover of Suzanne Collins’s “The Hunger Games,” a dystopian novel following a world consisting of a powerful Capitol and its twelve districts.  Katniss Everdeen (along with her mother, sister, and friend Gale) resides in District 12.

Once a year the Hunger Games are held: a tournament in which two children from each of the twelve districts are thrown into a fight-to-the-death battle and reality television show that’s broadcasted to the entire nation.

When Prim, Katniss’s sister, is chosen to be one of the two people to represent District 12 in the Games, Katniss insists to take her place.  The next thing she knows is she’s being carted off to the Capitol and treated like a star.  Despite the star treatment, she mentally prepares herself to kill another human being, and concocts plans to make it out alive.

There can be only one victor.  One spared life.  One shot.

“The Hunger Games” is, if anything, entirely too repetitive and shallow.  Katniss barely evolves as a character, Gale is never mentioned beyond the beginning, and Peeta, Katniss’s love interest, comes on too strongly for little to no reason, which makes him beyond unbelievable and grossly sappy.  Intense love at first sight? I don’t think so. Everything is the same: Katniss is questioning herself and others, she’s afraid, she’s traveling, she’s questioning herself and others, she’s afraid, she’s traveling some more, etc. Her personality is inconsistent.  She initially comes off strong, then tapers into a dismal state of dependency upon others and cluelessness.

The pairing of Peeta and Katniss is shoved down your throat as soon as it’s announced that they will be representing District 12 in the Games. The problem is he and Katniss have barely any interaction with one another.  Their love life constructs itself without a basis and solid reason. It’s the cliché of the perfect boy who says all the right things pushed to the max.  It’s neither cute nor believable.

Collins’s writing style doesn’t help, either; it’s so dry, so unemotional.  The book relies heavily upon descriptions and less upon dialogue.  Unfortunately the descriptions are repetitive and nothing special – the writing doesn’t give them any extra oomph, the same adjectives are used again and again to portray their respective characters, and there’s really only so many times you can withstand reading about what the characters are eating on their travels.  The dialogue is most times short and cliché, especially concerning Peeta.
The Game itself is drawn out. I appreciate that Katniss isn’t always the damsel in distress and can fend for herself, but until she genuinely interacts with the other contestants, the Game is boring.

It doesn’t help that Katniss seems to have some kind of invincibility preventing her from suffering much – although that could be because she’s quite the sharp shooter when equipped with a bow and arrow.  It’s no secret that she’s the Chosen One, though.  Collins does little to prevent that from being known.  But with little happening to her, it feels as though you should be reading about another character’s story, and that ultimately turns “The Hunger Games” into a boring dud.

3 thoughts on “‘The Hunger Games’ Serves Up Paltry Thrills

  1. 1) Of course Gale goes away as he is not in the hunger games, he can’t just pop in and say hi. And he becomes a much larger character in the next books esp. the third one.
    2) the games are the main focus, so the should be the majority.
    3) she does get hurt, she suffers severe burns from the fireballs, she get stung by trackerjacks and starts hallucinating, and damn near dies of thirst. oh and get her ear blown off. Plus as you said, she is quite skilled with a bow
    4) dialogue, again they can’t really stop around and chat while they are being hunted.
    5) Peeta doesn’t fall in love with her at first site. He’s been watching her and in school with her since she was ten and fallen in love with her through that, you know how kids in school can lust after each other for years. and katniss doesn’t love him throughtout the book, she was pretending
    6) granted they talk about food a lot, but they are starving food is a luxury to katniss.
    7) she’s 16 of course she is angry and confused and occasionally needs help. You have to admit she can be pretty bad-ass

  2. I think you’re way off. I’m a 26 year-old, well read female – and I absolute adored The Hunger Games. Anything but boring, I found myself constantly reading ahead to find out what happens next. I loved the romance between Peeta and Katniss, and it seems like you may have missed the point: the romance was supposed to be pushed to the max to make the reader question whether or not it was real or for the “games”.

    I hope women don’t read your article and shy away from the books. I hope every female between the ages of 15 and 45 get it for Christmas. I hope my husband gets me the series so I can read it all again!

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